Health & Wellness

How many sunburns does it take to get skin cancer?

The pain and redness from a sunburn goes away after a few days, but the damage it causes can be long lasting.

Any time your skin is tanned or burned by the sun, it’s a sign of damage. That’s why there’s no such thing as a safe tan.

The more intense the sun exposure, and the more often you're exposed, the greater the risk of developing skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting 1 in 5 Americans, according to the American Cancer Society. There are several forms of the disease — basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which generally turn up on sun exposed areas of the skin and are the easiest to cure.

RELATED: 10 minutes could save your life from skin cancer

Melanoma is the deadliest and most aggressive form. Not all melanomas are related to sun exposure, but most are.

How many sunburns does it take to increase your risk of skin cancer? Is just ONE a danger?

Watch the “Ask a Doctor” video with Dr. Natalie Azar for the answer.

And don’t forget to give yourself a thorough body check, looking for the ABCDEs of skin cancer:

  • A ASYMMETRY — One half unlike the other half.
  • B BORDER— Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
  • C COLOR — Varied from one area to another.
  • D DIAMETER— While melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm, they can be smaller.
  • E EVOLVING— A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest.
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